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Panthers' stunning playoff run continues

HILLSBORO — With large scrapes on her elbow and infield dirt caked onto her cheeks, South Medford senior catcher Tia Garrett could only think of one word to describe this past week.

"Chaotic," Garrett said.

A few feet away, Panthers junior Hannah Newman was accepting congratulations for her game-winning two-run single in the seventh inning that delivered No. 30 South Medford a 7-6 comeback road win Friday over No. 6 Glencoe in a thrilling Class 6A quarterfinal softball game.

"I think we're all pretty exhausted," Newman said.

The Panthers were so fatigued that they didn't even seem fazed by a five-run deficit against a Crimson Tide team that was playing in their eighth consecutive quarterfinals. It was simply one more hurdle for the South Medford players to overcome in a week that featured approximately 18 hours of bus rides spanning 1,500 miles in a five-day span.

The journeys up and down Interstate-5 included a 5-1 win in 11 innings at No. 3 Tualatin on Monday, a trip to Roseburg for a rainout Wednesday, a return trip to Roseburg for a 5-4 win Thursday and then having to scramble to find an available bus Friday morning to head to Hillsboro.

After all that, the South Medford softball program landed in a place it's never been: the OSAA semifinals, where the Panthers will again hit the road as the underdog to play at No. 2 South Salem on Tuesday.

"It's been a whirlwind of a week," South Medford coach Miranda Gillaspie-Smith said. "I mean, it's just been crazy. But hey, it's overcoming adversity, it's getting after it, it's playing one at a time and just not giving up until the seventh inning and the third out happens."

It appeared the travel and pressure of the playoffs finally caught up to the scrappy Panthers (13-13) when Glencoe (22-8) scored three runs (on an error, a bunt single by Kamryn Apling and a wild pitch) to take a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning.

But the Panthers and their precocious 14-year-old freshman ace pitcher Pat Moore didn't get rattled and kept their spirits up in the dugout between innings. Moore finished with 12 strikeouts and also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored.

South Medford 001 102 3 — 7 10 2

Glencoe 204 000 0 — 6 7 1

P. Moore and Garrett; Eastman, Bushong (3), Becker (6), Eastman (7) and Apling. W — P. Moore. L — Becker. 2B — SM: Gartlan 2, Newman. 3B — G: Besuyen. HR — G: Eastman.

See the full story at http://highschoolsports.oregonlive.com/news/article/-7678335191024165686/south-medfords-7-6-comeback-win-over-glencoe-continues-historic-road-filled-playoff-run-6a-softball-recap/#incart_river